Friday, 14 April 2017

Weekend Trip to Teddington - Day 1

Even though we first holidayed together on the Thames in 1986 (aboard Thames Capri from Bridge Boats, which was a Hampton Safari 25 I think!) we'd never ventured as far as Teddington (the official limit of the non-tidal thames). So we decided to head that way from Windsor and while we were at it we could pop into Walton Marina for a night or 2.

We set off from Racecourse Marina at lunchtime and were soon passing through Boveney lock (on self service) and then past Windsor.


Romney Lock was also on self service and very busy, it took a while to pass through here.

Romney Lock lay-by

We passed by Datchet and gave Kris Cruisers a wave (have I mentioned before that in our opinion they are the best people to hire holiday boats from?). It was nice to find Old Windsor Lock was manned and we were through just after 3pm.

Old Windsor Lock

The river passes Runneymede and the Magna Carta monument, Bell Weir Lock is next (which was also manned) and then under the busy M25.  After passing Staines is was nice to find Penton Hook Lock was manned and we were through here by 4:30.

Penton Hook Lock lay-by

Penton Hook Lock
We were soon passing underneath the M3 and into Chertsey Lock which by now was on self-service.

Chertsey Lock and M3 Bridge
Not far to go now, we gave Barry a wave as we passed his lovely house on Chertsey Meads, past Pharaoh's Island and into Shepperton Lock (which we had to operate ourselves). Immediately after the lock is the entrance to the River Wey, a National Trust managed river that we went on in 1990 - so somewhere to return to sometime. We passed Desborough Island using the Channel (it's shorter!) and turned right, under the low bridge into Walton Marina, it was now 6pm.

We had phoned ahead to book a mooring 'just in case' and we had been told where this would be (on the pontoon near the slipway, but we were surprised that someone else was already in this spot and the marina office was closed so we weren't really sure what to do.  Luckily Sue (the assistant marina manager) was still on site and noticed us looking for somewhere to moor. Turns out that the other boat had been mistaken for ours and directed to moor there, Sue soon found us another place and were were moored up in no time.




It's a lovely little marina and it was only a short stroll into town for a curry! In the morning we found 'Amazing Darling' moored at the marina, a very nice Shetland 27 owned by Alan and Debbie whom we'd met previously whist on holiday with Kris Cruisers. They weren't there at the time but we've since made contact and will catch up sometime.



Saturday, 11 March 2017

First Outing of 2017

In spite of best intentions we never did venture out over the winter, one weekend in January when we visited Life's too Short the marina was completely frozen over!



March 11th was the day we took the boat out to blow away a few cobwebs. We didn't go far, the logbook shows about 2 hours motoring and no locks so there isn't a lot to write about!

About to set off from D pontoon.


On our return it was nice to see that the 'unmissable sign' that had previously been missing was back in place!


That's all for this short update!

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Moving to Windsor Racecourse Marina - Day 2

After a good night's rest at Marlow we were up quite early to get underway. It was quite misty and really quiet as we set off at about 8:30.



We weren't the only fools on the river!



This photo looks more like a watercolour painting!



A couple of obligatory photos of lovely houses!




No room to stop at the Ferry, Cookham.





I don't know what type of boat this is but it's always sad to see someone's pride and joy in such a state.



I didn't take any photographs at Cookham Lock, so I've skipped forward to Boulter's, good to see someone keeping a lookout in the lock cut!


Boulter's Lock was on self-service (as many others were over the weekend) which isn't a problem but it is huge and takes a while to pass through, especially with just the 2 of us.





It took a while but we were through by 10:30 - but to our surprise there was a line of boats waiting to come through the other way and not one of them had bothered to come and lend a hand! They'd have been on their way quicker if they'd helped!

We motored on past Maidenhead and under the sounding arch at the railway bridge, went through Bray Lock without a hitch and we were nearly there. All  we had to do was look out for the 'unmissable sign' that was at the entrance to the millstream, leading into the marina. Someone else was keeping a beady eye on us as well!


We passed under the M4, then the remains of the Monkey Island Hotel, Bray Studios, Oakley Court Hotel but no 'unmissable sign'! When we saw Boveney Lock ahead we realised we must have passed it so we turned around and headed back.

Ta da! The unmissable sign we'd foolishly missed!



I took 10 or 15 minutes to weave our way along the millstream and we were pleased we didn't meet anyone coming the other way.




And then we were there! Life's too Short was allocated a berth next to Bayside Dream (Keith's V295, boat number 2!) and we were moored up by midday.




When we went to sort out the paperwork - there on the sales pontoon was V295 number 3 up for sale, so for a short while at least all 3 Viking 295s built so far were in the same place.



Saturday, 29 October 2016

Moving to Windsor Racecourse Marina - Day 1

After spending the spring and summer at Thames and Kennet marina and managing to get all the way to Lechlade we decided to move to Racecourse Marina to see what the other end of the Thames is like. It's another of Tingdene's marinas so we could swap for no charge.

We had some vague plans of using the boat during the winter (subject to lock closures) and possibly visiting the tidal section of the river, bit for now we just needed to get Life's too Short to her next home.

We arrived and were ready to set off before 10 (unusual for us!) on a grey, murky morning. We didn't know whether we'd get to Racecourse today or moor up a bit earlier and finish the journey in the morning.



By 10:25 we were through Sonning Lock and safely under the bridge.




The river was really quiet and a little after 11 we were through Shiplake Lock.




As always along this stretch of the river we admired some of the lovely houses, I lose count of how many photographs of the same places we have!





Soon we arrived at Marsh Lock with it's long wooden bridge connecting it to the Oxfordshire riverbank.






The very familiar sight of Henley was next, we cruised by the lovely park and then under the old stone bridge (which cost £10,000 to build at the end of the 18th century!).





As we needed up towards Temple Island I commented that the 'Tour de Henley' cycle race was not proving to be very popular this year - Caroline just gave me that knowing frown!



Temple Island complete with folly and nymph is owned by Henley Regatta and marks the start of the famous regatta course.



Next up was Hambledon Lock, this one has slightly different controls to the majority and took a little while to fathom out.




This looks like a remarkable property, I wonder what the story is behind the integrated ruined tower on one end?



Hurley Lock came and went in a flash (or rather I didn't take any photos) and very soon after Temple Lock appeared where we were followed in by a very large boat!




It was 14:10 when we left Temple Lock, so we decided that we would stop at Marlow for the night and finish the trip in the morning. On the approach to Marlow we spotted a very modern looking houseboat that appears to be a conference room, looks quite out of place here.



Marlow is a very familiar sight with the church and old suspension bridge (which was closed to traffic for repairs at this time CLICK for a link to the details)



And then Marlow Lock, the last for today.




The moorings below the lock tend to be a bit quieter than those on the park plus it meant there was one less lock to navigate in the morning.


A short stroll for dinner at The Two Brewers (which was recommended to us by Pam back at T&K Marina - and we are also happy to recommend!) and then an early night for us.